Kelly wants to see Foles run his offense

Posted: February 22, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS - Nick Foles is a long way from being traded, from what Chip Kelly said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"I want to coach Nick," Kelly said when asked whether the Eagles have fielded any offers for the second-year quarterback from Arizona, who started six games as a rookie. "I want to get a chance to spend time with him. I've said before, I'm a big fan of his, the way he plays the game, his toughness, his ability to throw the ball, very accurate. I want a chance to hopefully get him out on the practice field."

Kelly threw in the usual caveats about not being able to predict the future - with four QBs under contract, the Eagles certainly will trade Foles if somebody offers them a first-round pick, and probably will deal him if they can get a second-rounder, but it's far from apparent that anyone will pay such a price. Michael Vick, due at least $7.5 million this year under the terms of his reworked contract, likely will have first crack at the starting job.

But Kelly, hard to pin down in just about every other area in his first appearance before the national media as the Eagles' coach, said nothing to suggest that after reviewing the 2012 film, he finds Foles' slow feet a bad fit for his offensive plans.

Asked whether he thought Foles could run his offense effectively, Kelly said, "Yep." He did not elaborate.

Kelly was pressed on the subject of Foles when he moved off the podium into a side session with a smaller group of reporters.

"I know we tried to present him with a lot of different looks when I was at Oregon . . . He always seemed to to have an answer," Kelly said, when asked what he likes about the QB, who completed 60.8 percent of his passes last season, fifth all-time among NFL rookies. "He did a great job of always putting the ball where it's supposed to be. When you watch the film, if we were going to be light somewhere in coverage, he seemed to find the spot where you were light in coverage . . . He'll tell ya. We hit the heck out of him, and he just kept coming."

Kelly reiterated that his New Hampshire offense, before the 2007 move to Oregon, was a pass-heavy attack that did not require a mobile QB. He said he changed when he got to Oregon and had Dennis Dixon - now in the Eagles' signal-calling mix - plus a stable of fleet running backs.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman noted that a lot of Foles' work last season came with a depleted offensive roster.

"We're not in the business of trying to get rid of our good, young players," Roseman said.

Kelly was less forthcoming regarding cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, scheduled to make $15 million this season, if the Eagles keep him and don't rework his contract.

Asked whether the Asomugha he saw when he watched the 2012 games was worth that, Kelly said he was "not a money guy" and didn't watch film with such ideas in mind.

"I don't have his group of plays, or how he played in Game 1 through the last game of the season," said Kelly, which made one wonder why the heck he wouldn't have that. Under repeated Asomugha questioning, Kelly finally said: "I think Nnamdi has a skill set that can play football."

Roseman was asked whether he expected to speak with Asomugha's agents, Ben Dogra and Tom Condon.

"I expect to talk to a lot of agents, including Nnamdi's. They've got a lot of players," Roseman said. "In terms of specifics, we'll keep that private. We would like to do that. We'll make sure that all our messages to any of our players will be delivered to them and not through the media."

More than a month into his tenure, Kelly isn't willing to commit to much.

"I've watched every game, I've watched every cutup of our current players, but until you see 'em in person, at our first minicamp, you don't really know," he said. "The film will tell you a lot, but it doesn't tell you everything. Part of making decisions is about meeting them as players and kind of finding out what their work ethic is like, what they're like on the practice field, what they're like in the weight room."

With free agency starting March 12 and teams needing to comply with the salary cap by then, Kelly won't be able to see every player practice before decisions are made.

"A lot of that is on our personnel department, because they know 'em a lot better than I do at this point in time," he said. "I'll give 'em my opinion on where we are . . . Those are the rules we're governed by."

Here are some other highlights from Kelly's combine appearance, which was followed on the same podium by Roseman, then by former Eagles coach Andy Reid, debuting at the combine as the Kansas City Chiefs' coach:

* Asked about Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, who could be a consideration for the Eagles at fourth overall in the draft:

"Dion's just a special guy in my heart. I had an opportunity to be with him for 5 years. He came into Oregon as a receiver, moved to tight end, we switched him over to defense the beginning of his sophomore year. He just had a huge impact, not only on the field but off the field. I'm excited to see him."

* Is Dixon competing for a backup spot or to be the starter? "I can't predict the future. I have no idea. But with the amount of reps we get in practice, everybody's going to get a shot at throwing the football around. The best players are going to play."

* About adapting his playbook from college to the pros: "Good question. It's what do we feel, on this level, that we can run? What's going to fit? When you start to put a playbook together, there's always more [rather] than less. Then you start to cull it down, as you get a chance to know your players and understand what they can do and what you're asking them to do. It's pretty wide-ranging right now. It's got a lot of things in it. But, then, I think any good coach will always tailor his playbook to his personnel. Until we get a chance to work with them, I can't really tell you what it's going to look like when we get rolling in August and start playing games in September, but right now, it's going to be pretty extensive."

* Asked whether the Eagles will train at Lehigh as scheduled, Kelly said he that hadn't gotten that far, and that he hadn't been to Lehigh since his New Hampshire team played there.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: Eagletarian.com

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